Canadian Federal Budget 2014: Legacy of a Finance Minister?

11-Feb-14 10:21 am EDT Leave a comment
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hey’re saying this could be the final budget delivered by Canada’s Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty.  And CBC News is reporting that we should be looking for 6 key items to appear in this years’ budget.

But I’m reflecting on the budgets of years gone by under the Conservative government and where it’s left Canada in the past decade.   My comment on the story makes it clear what Flaherty’s real legacy will be:

mcshane
James in Kanata @mcshane: Bottom line, the average Canadian’s wealth has increased by 25% wince NAFTA.
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Bull and I will speak for the American people as well…Employers that did relocate to Mexico from the U.S. and Canada have now begun moving to even lower-wage areas such as China and Vietnam. NAFTA was supposed to “grow the economy,” all it did was increasingly benefit a smaller and smaller segment of society.

Ross Holder
@mcshane Well that doesn’t mean it didn’t grow the economy. ;) It just means that the economy grew and served to simply widen the gap between rich and poor (i.e. profit went into the pockets of the top 5% of income earners instead of seeing every Canadian benefit). And maybe that was inevitable too; but I’d like this budget to spend more attention on managing that widening gap I mentioned between rich and poor — because this country is plenty rich enough for everyone to feel the benefit of our good fortune a lot more!

Time Magazine Person of 2013: Pope Francis I

17-Dec-13 06:18 pm EDT Leave a comment

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ime Magazine couldn’t have chosen better, IMHO, for person of the year for 2013.  The pontiffs that have ascended the clergy to fulfill the tradition of being humanity’s direct channel to #God seem to have all been good men in my lifetime.  But Francis seems to stand out as one who can really bring God into the lives of the masses in a meaningful way and for a goodly number doing so with an air of humility and service that few of his fellow clergy (whatever their faith) seem able to match.  I was particularly impressed this year with his affinity for personal poverty and welcoming homosexuals into the Church he represents in a public way (and seemingly absent the theological distractions that have at least appeared to bar his predecessors from doing in like kind – and therein bringing into question their true discipleship of #Christ, in my view).

Well done, #Time!  And long-live #Pope #Francis!

Butthole(s) of the Year for 2013: The Conservative Party of Canada

17-Dec-13 05:12 am EDT Leave a comment
MooreJ(Conservative)

James Moore (cutaway from Commons video), MP (Conservative), Ministry of Industry and Trade, Government of Canada.

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hether it was covering up the expenditures of its Senate appointees, hurting Canada’s standing in the international community with mid-east policy (being America’s “yes” man), glossing over cases of dirty campaigning (being found guilty of causing election irregularities through committing election fraud), to record-setting spending on personal attacks of opposition leaders, bankrupting environmental activists with legal fees over legitimate public concerns, or imposing a tyrannical regime of anti-drug paranoia in response to a legitimate, medically-prescribed treatment of mental illness, or (late, this past week) telling a reporter it was neither “the [Government of Canada]’s job” nor “[his] job to feed [his] neighbour’s child.”

Is it just me or is it starting to look like maybe — in the eyes of our nation’s leaders — that nothing is really their job until it comes time to pay themselves and their buddies with bottomless expense accounts and other rewards that prop-up their morally bankrupt ideology?

These dickheads make the spectre of Marie Antoinette look like the sugar plumb fairy!

Yes, it’s been quite a year and one I’m not likely to forget anytime soon.  My only hope is that October 2015 rolls around, my fellow citizens don’t suffer another lapse in memory and stick this truly undesirable element back into power when the time comes.  Though I’m not what you’d call a traditional supporter of rightist politics, I’ve never in my life been so filled with dread and deep-seated resentment about a Canadian political party.  It actually feels like the Republicans crossed north across the 49th and picked up where George W. Bush left off.

On his apology…were it just he and were it just this one thing, I could readily accept it.  But Moore is a part of a club that demands a #MooreChristmas doctrine – and, fundamentally, a heart that’s three sizes too small.  Nothing short of resignations to accompany apology will do now.  Would that it were a world wherein such Christmas miracles happen…

The Birds Strike Back….

11-Dec-13 08:41 pm EDT Leave a comment
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r perhaps “The Pork Strikes Back” would be a better title.  But whatever you call it, what self-(dis)respecting parody to Star Wars could you have without a sequel even more hilarious than the one before it?  In that spirit, here’s hoping the following brings a bit of Christmas cheer thanks to folks at Rovio:

 

Source: Angry Birds: Star Wars II–Boba’s Delivery trailer; Copyright © Rovio Entertainment Ltd., all rights reserved.

On Joining the “Pork Side”…

01-Dec-13 04:31 pm EDT Leave a comment
Source: Angry Birds: Star Wars II–Join the Pork Side trailer; Copyright © Rovio Entertainment Ltd., all rights reserved.
I

n celebration of the Christmas shopping season, might I share with you fine folks something I found especially entertaining this year under the heading of “game software” for the Android, iPhone and PC (which still seems to have some of the gaming audience despite devices taking over everything last year): Angry Birds.

Reminds one of the forthcoming epic movies finishing off the 9-movie Star Wars saga, now projected to open in last 2015.  But next year promises to be another blockbuster for the Star Wars franchise leading up to this next watershed event (simply titled “Episode VII” at the moment.  Stay tuned for more info about all that and more here!

Political Meddling at its Very Worst!

29-Nov-13 09:08 am EDT Leave a comment
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utrage doesn’t begin to describe what I felt after hearing about the plight of this RCMP officer this morning (see below).  I hate the way the RCMP gets so easily turned into a political football — especially in cases like this.  The force was dealing with the case of this one Mountie just fine….but when he decided (with the nod from his union) to demonstrate his use of medicinally-prescribed marijuana while in-uniform, the force suddenly reacted as if mental illness wasn’t worthy of “the optics” involved!

And, of course, the Conservatives are once again turning what should be a common-sense issue into political football by seizing upon the opportunity to make some kind of ridiculous statement about their anti-drug policy (another holdover from a long, by-gone era) and making an example of this decorated officer.

 

Pot-smoking Mountie has uniform seized by RCMP (Source: CBC.ca, 28-Nov-2013)

 

Shame on Tony Clement, Stephen Harper and the Conservatives for being more eager to change the channel away from the Senate scandal (just one among several) and punish a loyal public servant in the most crass and medieval manner imaginable!

More Planets Anyone?

27-Nov-13 12:34 pm EDT Leave a comment

Infographic showing how the Kepler space telescope could continue searching for planets despite two busted reaction wheels. Credit: NASA Ames/W Stenzel (Read more…)

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epler may be getting set for a resurrection of its planet-finding mission in other star systems, according to Universe Today. The space telescope whose primary mission to was catalogue planets around stars in our galaxy, visible in a particular part of the night sky was abruptly cut short this past summer when two of the wheels responsible for orienting the satellite failed, leaving its attitude control system crippled along with its primary mission.  These technical issues have also left Kepler vulnerable to budget cuts in the forthcoming 2014 budget debate which has already been the subject of a high-stakes game of political brinksmanship between U.S. lawmakers who decide how much money NASA and, ultimately, Kepler get.

A view of Kepler's search area as seen from Earth. Credit: Carter Roberts / Eastbay Astronomical Society

A view of Kepler’s search area as seen from Earth. Credit: Carter Roberts / Eastbay Astronomical Society

Of course, while Kepler and other planet-finding missions continue with their discoveries (even if hobbled by issues of one kind or another), one question often asked about them is “where are they?”  I use a program called “Celestia” to get my answer to that question and over the past couple of years have acquired quite a bit of data pertaining to these “exoplanets” (as they’re called) and other astronomical phenomena whose coordinates and other data can be input into the application to generate a celestial map.

If you’re interested in using the data I’ve got , you can download the library from one of two sources:

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